Press Release: Thirty Young Visionaries Recognized by Global Award in Environmental Education


Class of 2021, ee30 Under 30 logo, NAAEE logo, faces of 30 young ee leaders on orange background with purple leaf outline



Press Release

Contact: Stacie Pierpoint |



Thirty Young Visionaries Recognized by Global Award in Environmental Education 

The North American Association for Environmental Education Announces its 2021 EE 30 Under 30 Awardees.

[Washington, D.C., September 15, 2021] The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is proud to announce its sixth class of 30 leaders under age 30 who are using environmental education (EE) to build sustainable and equitable communities around the world. 

The awardees in this year’s EE 30 Under 30 Class of 2021 range in age from 16 to 30, and include social entrepreneurs, artists, researchers, and educators from 13 countries. From designing artistic and educational programs to conserve and uphold ancestral environments, cultures, and languages in the United States to creating beekeeping community youth groups in Kenya, these leaders are using environmental education to address complex sustainability issues in their communities. Their collective work reaches more than 300,000 people each year.

EE 30 Under 30 aims to empower exceptional young leaders in EE to expand their impact, and inspire and mentor the next generation of sustainability leaders. The Class of 2021 will join the global EE 30 Under 30 community of inspiring leaders, and will receive ongoing support to expand their impact through networking, peer mentoring, global recognition, and opportunities for professional development and grants. 

Since 2016, NAAEE's EE 30 Under 30 program has recognized 180 individuals from 40 countries who are making a difference through environmental education. This program is made possible by the Global Environmental Education Partnership, the U.S. Forest Service, and Wells Fargo.

The award has had a tremendous impact on these young leaders. Alerick Pacay (Guatemala, 2019) says, “The EE 30 Under 30 award has impacted both my professional and personal life. The recognition gave me the confidence to study abroad and pursue a postgraduate degree through which I am actively connecting my passion and knowledge of environmental education with conservation programs. This is a real community in which you’ll always feel welcomed and supported,” and Taiji Nelson (USA, 2018) shares, “This program has opened so many doors by introducing me to amazing people and ideas, and created a space at the table for diverse voices.”

Executive Director of NAAEE Judy Braus says, “We can’t address today's complex challenges without the talent and innovation of the diverse cultural backgrounds, perspectives, and disciplines that make up our world. These leaders exemplify the incredible passion, creativity, and impact of young people who are taking action and inspiring others to build a more just and greener future. We are thrilled to welcome the Class of 2021 to the impressive EE 30 Under 30 community.”

Learn more about NAAEE’s 30 Under 30 program in this brochure:

Learn more about this year’s winners, listed below, by reading their biographies on our website:

Achare Elvis Ayamba, 27, Cameroon

Amanda Abrom, 27, USA

Amelia Fortgang, 17, USA

Ankit Pandey, 25, India

Aurelia R. Casey, 28, USA

Carlos Eduardo Pérez Murcia, 24, Guatemala

Cesar Almeida, 25, USA

Diamonique Clark, 26, USA

Ellen Bashor, 28, USA

Emer Rafferty, 18, United Kingdom

Erin Helen Shultz, 29, USA

Forbi Perise Eyong Nyosai, 24, Cameroon

Francisca Okwera Kasuku, 27, Kenya

Francklin Barbier, 26, Haiti

Garvita Gulhati, 21, India

Giulia Marzetti, 29, Belgium

Gloria Amor Paredes, 30, Philippines

Ineza Umuhoza Grace, 25, Rwanda

Jason Robinson, 29, Canada

Joy Hayley Munthali, 25, Malawi

Julia Migné, 29, United Kingdom

Kimberly Casipe, 25, Philippines

Maiya Rainer, 20, USA

Mhairi McCann, 22, United Kingdom

Prajna Cauvery Kotera Pooviah, 25, India

Sahana Kaur, 17, Malaysia

Sarah Goody, 16, USA

Shriya Rai, 22, India

Stephen Gachagua, 27, Kenya

Vihaan Agarwal, 17, India



For five decades, the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) has served as the professional association, champion, and backbone organization for the field of environmental education (EE), working with EE professionals across United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as globally, to advance environmental literacy and civic engagement to create a more equitable and sustainable future. For more information on NAAEE, visit